Years ago, a cousin and I couldn't believe our eyes when we saw an aunt studding a purple cabbage with cheese and pineapple bits on toothpicks. It was to be the centrepiece at her ladies' lunch and we followed her around, trying to scratch it and see if the colour came off, not heeding her amused promises that she hadn't added any food colouring to it.
Most coloured or fancy vegetables have this tendency to turn standard-issue green or brown once they're cooked, especially many varieties of brinjals/eggplants and beans. Find out why here. The purple cabbage is an exception and so are the beans we have here today.
I bought them on my recent trip to Delhi and the shopkeeper could only tell me they are special Kashmiri beans. They were glossy and appeared black, though when I soaked them, they almost immediately revealed their purpleness and the run-off when I drained them the next morning was so purple you had to see it to believe it.
As they were Kashmiri, I adapted the Rajma recipe in my Kashmiri cuisine cookbook, The Pleasures of Kashmiri Cookery by Anu Wakhlu, to prepare this dish.
Beans/peas: 5 fistfuls, soaked overnight, drained
Aniseed/saunf powder: 1 tbsp
Ginger powder/sonth: 1/2 tbsp
Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
Salt, to taste
Garam Masala: 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder: 1 tsp
Asafoetida: a pinch
Ghee/oil or a combination of both: 2 tbsp
Amchur/Dry mango powder: 1-2 tsp
Bay leaves: 2-3
Cumin Seeds: 1 tsp
Green Chillies, slit: 3
Fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
Pressure cook/boil the beans with double the quantity of water, turmeric, aniseed powder, ginger powder and bay leaves. Pressure cook it on simmer for 20-30 minutes after the first hiss. You should be able to mash them, but with some resistance, with the back of a spoon.
Heat the ghee/oil in another pan. Add the asafoetida, cumin, red chilli powder, salt and green chillies. Add the beans to this. Mix well.
Add the amchur and garam masala and simmer for five minutes.
Garnish with the coriander.
This goes off to Susan's My Legume Love Affair, Fifth Edition, being hosted this month by Simona of Briciole, and to Sunshinemom's FIC-Black & Purple.
My Legume Love Affair EventFIC Black Purple Kashmiri black beans/peas Delhi travel vegetarian